The newly released sixth preview of Internet Explorer 9 best handles the forthcoming HTML5 standard, followed by Google's Chrome 7 Web browser, according to recent early tests by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
The W3C's test suite examined five Web browsers' conformance with seven features of HTML5: "attributes," "audio," "video," "canvas," "getElementsByClassName," "foreigncontent" and "xhtml5." Microsoft's IE9 Platform Preview 6 fared best across the test suite, with 100 per cent scores on all but the "canvas" and "getElementsByClassName" categories, on which it achieved 89.6 per cent and 83.3 per cent, respectively.
Google's Chrome 7.0.517.41 beta placed second, with four 100 per cent scores along with 80.6 per cent on "canvas," 92.9 per cent on "video" and 42.9 per cent on "xhtml5." Following Chrome were Firefox 4 Beta 6 and Opera 11.00 alpha (build 1029), both of which achieved three 100 per cent scores, and Safari Version 5.0.2 (6533.18.5), which earned two perfect scores. You can see the full suite of scores on the W3C's results page.
A Partial Snapshot
The new HTML5 specification for structuring and presenting Web content has yet to be finalized, but it's anticipated with considerable excitement for its inclusion of features such as video playback that previously depended on third-party browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight.
The W3C's test suite provides only a very early indication of the various browsers' support for the standard, however, and it's important to keep in mind that the suite does not yet include all of the standard's features. Still to be incorporated, for example, are aspects such as the file API, local file storage, and Web workers.
Other tests already out there produce different results. The HTML5 Test, for instance, allows Web surfers to get an indication of their current browser's HTML5 support; for me, Firefox 3.6, for instance, scores 139 points plus 4 bonus points out of a total of 300 possible on the site. Then there's the When Can I Use site, which offers compatibility tables for features in HTML5 as well as CSS3, SVG and other upcoming Web technologies.
Still, it's interesting to see where the various browsers fall, particularly when compared with market share. According to Net Applications' new market data for October, Internet Explorer has dropped from 59.7 per cent in September to 59.3 per cent; Firefox has dipped a bit from 23 per cent to 22.8 per cent; Chrome has risen from eight per cent to 8.5 per cent. At five per cent, Safari has moved up slightly, and Opera, at two per cent, has dropped slightly.
Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk.